Race In The Northwest: Hood River Man Learns His Family’s Surprising Truth

Posted in Articles, Audio, Autobiography, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-12-08 02:58Z by Steven

Race In The Northwest: Hood River Man Learns His Family’s Surprising Truth

Oregon Public Broadcasting
2016-12-07

Anna Griffin, News Director


Hood River writer and cidermaker John Metta.
Anna Griffin/OPB

Hood River, Oregon—John Metta grew up thinking of himself as mixed race: His mother was white. His father’s side of the family proudly proclaimed themselves a blend of African-American and Native American.

“Actually, I grew up always being the Indian kid at school,” he said. “I have pictures of myself in like fourth and fifth grade, and my hair was dead straight parted in the middle. I looked like the typical Native American.”

The family wasn’t entirely clear on where that Native American element entered the mix — someone at some point had spent time on the Seneca reservation in Western New York. Still, they embraced their native side…

…A few years ago, Metta’s sisters got curious about precisely which tribes and parts of the country their relatives came from. They asked an uncle to swab his cheek and had the sample tested. How much Native American blood did they find?…

Read the entire article here.

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White on Paper

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2015-08-24 20:00Z by Steven

White on Paper

Those People
2015-08-20

John Metta


My sister opening presents while I try to steal the show. Just ordinary Black children having a birthday party, unconscionably ignoring dominant stereotypes.

In June, Rachel Dolezal, an activist and former president of the NAACP chapter in Spokane, was outed by her parents as being a white woman. She later left the organization. And just yesterday, Shaun King, an activist affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, was “outed” by Vicki Pate as being white on Re-NewsIt!, her blog.

Now, let me be clear: This essay is not about Rachel Dolezal pretending to be Black, nor is it about whether Shaun King is Black. This essay is about being Black, in a white world, under a white media lens.

So there are questions about Shaun King’s race based on a police report that lists him as white. This has little to do with his race, and everything to do with institutionalized racism. It’s most likely that an officer was filling out a form, and decided he was white because it wasn’t worth it to actually ask the question.

I know that can happen because it has happened to me many times

Read the entire article here.

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Race in the US: What if your identity was a lie?

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2015-08-24 18:50Z by Steven

Race in the US: What if your identity was a lie?

Al Jazeera Magazine
2015-08-21

John Metta

“There are no qualifiers to my blackness, and I will never again be Not Black Enough. I am a black man, and I am angry.”

My father’s anger was a storm.

Like many other boys, I was carefree and careless with a thoughtlessness that bordered on stupidity. The world revolved around my desire to laugh and run in a bubble of fun and I rarely noticed the wake of catastrophe that cast out behind me. But I was always aware of my father watching me, and I was aware of the storm.

He was a giant of a man, with a voice like thunder in the distance. I was a butterfly, small and frightened, observing the horizon of his brow, watching to see if the storm clouds were coming near, waiting for the winds to blow in my direction.

Surprisingly, despite my raucous behaviour, they very rarely did.

There was a deep anger in my father, but that storm ravaged other lands. Most often, my delicate wings felt only his whisper. But the whisper of my father was still a very powerful thing.

Each of my siblings have their stories about these whispers, about the times my father sat them down to have A Talk – a proper noun that is capitalised in our childhood memories the way A Beating is for some children. A Talk was a gruelling ordeal of mental torture where your mind felt like a balloon filled with too much water.

I, the only son of his six children (and his least intelligent child by far), was often caught off guard by A Talk…

Read the entire article here.

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